Melissa Urist is running deep in the eights with her Hellion-boosted S550
By Steve Turner
If you have been following the progression of Melissa Urist’s 2015 Mustang GT, you know this car has always been at the forefront of 2015 Mustang GT performance. This Hellion Power Systems machine came out of the gate with 949 horsepower, ramped up to 1,135 horsepower and eventually put down over 1,400 horsepower to the rear wheels. Then it became the first 2015 Mustang to run in the 8-second range with a stock independent rear suspension.
As you might have guessed from the success her husband John has earned in the NMRA’s Street Outlaw ranks, the Hellion team doesn’t rest on its laurels for long. Melissa was back pushing the envelope at the NMRA’s Ford Motorsport Nationals last weekend. The car took advantage of cool air and a good track to make its quickest runs yet in the Turbo Coyote Shootout.
“We didn't make any changes except for tuning the boost curve,” Melissa said. “We wanted to get more aggressive, but at the same time keep it smooth out of the hole.”
Launching a car with four-digit horsepower, a stock transmission and a stock independent rear suspension is an art. Softening the launch by ramping in the power is crucial, which is possible with a turbocharger and a boost controller.
“The key to putting the power down is the ability to program the boost,” Melissa said. “With our Turbosmart controller we can set the launch boost, and bring the power in as desired. This is one of the big advantages over other power adders.”
She first ran an 8.74-second pass at 163 mph with only a 1.35-second 60-foot time, which was captured in this video…
On the next pass, the Hellion team dialed in the ramp rate of the boost controller for a better launch, but she got quick-bulbed by her opponent. As such, she left the line with 0 pounds of boost and only managed a 1.50-second 60-foot time. The resulting pass was still impressive at 8.71-seconds at 161.11 mph.
While Melissa still drives this car on the street—where it feels quite a bit different—running deeper into the eights didn’t feel much different that just barely cracking into the 8-second zone.
“It doesn’t really,” she said. “This car has performed so well every time, goes down the track smooth, straight and stops on a dime!”
You might think that a street car performing at this level would be at the edge of its performance potential, but that’s not the case. The team is confident that with a better 60-foot time this 4,045-pound Mustang can run much quicker.
“We have more in it for sure. The twin 64s are very powerful and we are creeping up on it a little at a time,” Melissa added. “The Maple Grove surface was stellar, and we took advantage of it. The next pass was an 8.71, and that was with a slower 60-foot. We don’t see any issue running 8.40s in the current trim.”
Eventually, Melissa may have a Powerglide behind that E85-burning MMR Coyote short-block, but for now it’s damn impressive that this car runs as well as it does with transbrake-modded stock six-speed auto and a stock IRS with Steeda’s Stop the Hop kit.
At the NMRA Ford Motorsport Nationals this past weekend, Hellion Power Systems racer Melissa Urist ripped off an 8.71-second pass on 17-inch JMS wheels.